Yesterday in Nevada, anyone who pitted defenseless animals against each other in a fight to the death for sadistic entertainment and profit could have easily gotten away with a slap on the wrist. Today, a new state law increases penalties for those who intentionally inflict pain and suffering on dogs and roosters.
Yesterday, Maryland restaurants could sell shark fin soup, driving the intolerably cruel practice of chopping off sharks’ fins and throwing the animal back into the ocean to die a painful death. Today, more sharks are alive, thanks to a new law banning the sale of shark fins.
Yesterday, in Connecticut and Nevada, towns and cities could discriminate against perceived “bully breeds” like pit bulls. Today, new laws ensure that dog owners are not forced to give up their beloved pets simply because of local ordinances that regulate dogs based on their breed.
Today – October 1st – a dozen new state animal protection laws are set to go into effect, increasing protections for thousands of animals overnight.
Today we can celebrate concrete changes that will result in actual animals’ lives being saved. These victories represent the incremental progress that snowballs into a successful movement. As more states adopt laws to protect animals, other states will follow suit.
Maryland now has one of the strongest statewide spay/neuter programs in the country – but it remains the only state where pit bulls are considered inherently dangerous. With Connecticut becoming the 16th state to prohibit breed-specific legislation, we hope Maryland is paying attention.
Forty-eight states – now including Nevada – have felony penalties for possessing a dog for dog fighting. The pressure is mounting for the two remaining states – Texas and West Virginia – to strengthen their animal fighting laws next and for other states to close existing loopholes.
Today is a good day for animals. Not only will the lives of animals in Nevada, Maryland and Connecticut improve starting today; these new laws are emblematic of a critical shift in our attitude toward animal suffering. As the public continues to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, laws will continue to improve, animals will continue to be saved, and we will be a better society because of it.
For more information on the ASPCA, or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.